PDP to contest Assembly polls in J&K: Mehbooba

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti addressing party workers rally in Jammu on Sunday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti addressing party workers rally in Jammu on Sunday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

‘BJP rule only brought destruction’

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Sept 19: While accusing BJP Government of bringing destruction in Jammu and Kashmir, former J&K Chief Minister and PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti today said that her party will contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the UT.
While talking to media-persons on the sidelines of a party function here today, the former Chief Minister claimed that PDP will fight coming Assembly elections but ruled out alliance with any political party including its erstwhile coalition partner, BJP.

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“PDP will fight the elections. So far, an alliance is concerned, the question is premature but one thing is absolutely clear that we will not go with BJP,” Mehbooba asserted.
While accusing the BJP of playing politics over the issues of Taliban, Afghanistan and Pakistan to grab votes, she alleged that the seven-year-rule of the BJP has brought miseries to the people of the country and ‘destruction’ in Jammu and Kashmir.
The former Chief Minister said it is not Hindus but the Indian democracy which is in danger under the BJP rule. This party has undone all the good work of the past 70 years of the Congress and started selling national resources and raising the prices of essentials to fill its coffers to “buy or intimidate” opposition legislators.
While taunting her critics, Mehbooba said mere mention of Taliban or the party’s vision of self-rule makes her “anti-national” and triggers debates and discussions even as the focus should have been the ongoing agitation of the farmers, inflation and other issues of public importance.
“J&K is in trouble and so is the entire country. They say Hindus are in danger but they are not in danger and in fact it is India and the democracy which are in danger because of them (BJP),” she claimed.
“As the elections in different States come near, the BJP will start cashing on the God-given opportunity of Taliban and Afghanistan and if it would not work, they will bring Pakistan and drones into picture,” the PDP president said.
“They will not talk about China which has intruded into Ladakh because they do not get votes by talking about that country. If you want to frighten people, talk about Taliban, Afghanistan and Pakistan and do something here and there and seek votes,” she added
Referring to the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Mehbooba alleged that the BJP’s incumbent State Chief Minister failed to provide jobs, roads and schools. “They do not have anything to sell to the people and therefore they will use Pakistan and J&K to garner votes. They have destroyed J&K and are using sticks to oppress the people who are not allowed to speak openly for their rights,” she alleged.
Mehbooba said the BJP is watching what she is saying to trigger a debate in media. “The farmers’ agitation, growing unemployment, inflation and other issues facing the country should have been the focus of our debates but there is no discussion on these important issues. Since the elections in UP are drawing closer, there will be more discussion on Taliban and Afghanistan,” she said.
The PDP leader alleged that the BJP Government is using crores of rupees on the self-projection and taxing people by raising petrol and diesel prices to fill its coffers and use the money to “buy MLAs of other parties and use Government agencies to intimidate those who reject its offer”.
Mehbooba said there are debates on the oppressive measures adopted by the Taliban against women in Afghanistan but nobody is talking about the women of India who are facing rapes and dowry deaths.
“I know unemployment is such that we cannot provide jobs to everyone. Mufti had a plan to address this problem but if I name the plan which is self-rule, I will be dubbed as anti-national and it will trigger debates and discussions,” she added.
Referring to the `self-rule’, Mehbooba said Jammu and Kashmir is holding a strategic position and can be a gateway to Central Asia if all the cross-border traditional routes are opened and all the neighbouring countries allowed to open bank branches which will generate employment.
The former Chief Minister said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have lost their hope from the BJP Government which smashed the protective shield of the erstwhile State by abrogating Article 370. She said the Muslim majority state would have never joined India if BJP would have been at the helm during partition.
“During our recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, I told him that you have destroyed J&K where nobody is allowed to speak openly. The problem is now the same everywhere in the country, where activists and actors like Sonu Sood who did a wonderful job during lockdown, are facing Enforcement Directorate raids,” Mehbooba said.
While referring to the one-day bandh call given by Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jammu on September 22 against alleged attempts to finish local trade by allowing big corporate chains to open their outlets, Mehbooba said this is the fallout of the abrogation of Article 370 and the people of Jammu have understood it. Despite assurances, the BJP failed to project jobs and lands of the people in Jammu and Kashmir, she regretted.